Newman acknowledges poll concern at launch

By Nathan Paull
Newman acknowledges poll concern at launch

Queensland Premier Campbell Newman might be able to promise billions more than his Labor counterpart, but it doesn't mean he won't be worried when voters head to the polls.

Mr Newman announced a raft of expensive youth policy initiatives at the Liberal National Party's (LNP) campaign launch in Brisbane on Sunday, including a $1 billion fund to build 22 new schools and upgrade existing ones.

They follow several big-ticket infrastructure announcements that have already seen the LNP outspend Labor about three-to-one, all on the back of the party's plan to lease about $37 billion worth of public assets.

But with very public opposition to privatisation, including a rally outside the launch, Mr Newman used part of his keynote speech to address polls that show both major parties will head into the final two weeks of the campaign neck and neck.

"Polls confirm that a hung parliament here is a very real possibility," Mr Newman told about 1000 party faithful.

"Palmer, Katter and the Greens political party have done a deal to try and deliver a Labor government that will be at the mercy of their every whim and that is a recipe for chaos."

Mr Newman urged voters to abandon their right to preference all candidates and simply vote one for the LNP.

"Only by voting one for the LNP in local electorates right across this state can you ensure we stay on course for a brighter future and a stronger Queensland," he said.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott was noticeably absent from the launch, with Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss and Senator George Brandis the only members of the coalition's federal leadership team in attendance.

Mr Newman and other speakers focused on the LNP's Strong Choices campaign throughout the launch, with Mr Newman even mentioning the word "strong" or one of its variants 34 times during his 24-minute keynote address.

Opposition Leader Annastacia Palaszczuk also focused on the Strong Choices plan while campaigning in the state's north, particularly at the Barron Gorge Hydroelectric Power Station near Cairns, currently run by government-owned corporation Stanwell.

Ms Palaszczuk, who didn't make any new policy announcements on Sunday, suggested the Newman government's privatisation plans could somehow affect the environment surrounding the power station.

"It could affect the park because it is within the scope of the hydro-power station and we just don't know under Campbell Newman's plan what this will mean for this pristine environment," she said.

Meanwhile, Palmer United Party (PUP) also had its campaign launch, but it was much more subdued than the LNP's, with the party's leader and founder Clive Palmer not even attending.

Out with the flu, Mr Palmer left it to his federal senators Glen Lazarus and Dio Wang to join state leader John Bjelke-Petersen to launch the party's campaign at his Sunshine Coast resort on Sunday.

PUP unveiled plans to abolish Queensland's 4.75 per cent payroll tax as a major economic platform.

Queenslanders go to the polls on January 31.


- $1 billion for 22 new schools and existing school upgrades

- lower southeast Queensland water bills of about $100 over two years due to debt reduction

- Drivers under 25 will not have to pay fee for open licence for three years if they don't accrue demerit points on P-plates

- $90 million over three years for Research to Reality innovation fund

- 200 bachelor and 300 masters degree scholarships for education.

(Source: Liberal National Party)

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